Workspace and leisure specialist Bruntwood Works has launched an “urban oasis” workplace in the centre of Manchester as part of its £50 million Pioneer redevelopment programme.
Bloc – a re-imagining of the 16-storey office block on Marble Street – has introduced a raft of quality new workspaces, amenities and technology that have all been designed to improve workplace wellbeing and boost productivity for the communities diverse range of businesses.
“Bloc’s transition from a corporate office building to a wellbeing-focused workplace is game-changing for Manchester,” said Ciara Keeling, CEO at Bruntwood Works.
“We have responded directly to what businesses and their employees expect from a modern workspace [as] we’re seeing increased demand for quality spaces that not only provide a wealth of amenities, but support positive work-life balance and create an environment where people want to spend time – both in and outside of work.
“Bloc provides all this and more.”
So, what do businesses get to benefit from at Bloc then?
Central to the focus on workplace wellbeing is the introduction of RESET – a new state-of-the-art yoga studio by Manchester’s premium training brand, FORM – which is situated within the serene basement space and hosts a rolling programme of yoga, pilates and wellbeing-based classes to help people blend fitness seamlessly into the working day.
A sleep pod has also been created to prioritise workers’ wellness and enhance productivity.
Local independent bakery Trove has opened on the ground floor and BrewDog is set to open a new bar and restaurant, as well as its first hotel, on site later this year, providing “unrivalled on-site amenity” for customers.
There will also be a focus on biophilia – which is known to help improve wellbeing, and sustainability – has also been included through the installation of an innovative, two-storey living wall that provides oxygen and helps reduce noise levels and a blue / green roof that reduces the discharge of rainwater and features wildflowers to support biodiversity and provide an additional thermal barrier.
This is Manchester’s first wildflower roof and also aims to attract a rare native blue butterfly.
Specially-created Trompe L’oeil murals by Sheffield-based artist Rob Lee and cascading greenery throughout help make Bloc an “urban oasis”.
Ciara Keeling continued: “The increased demand for spaces that support hybrid working and further flexibility has made it clear the office is still so important, just in a new way.
“Through its blend of innovative workspace, lifestyle and retail, Bloc is setting a template for the office of the future.
“We need to create places where people truly want to be.”
When it comes to workspaces itself, the Annexe at Bloc has also been totally transformed into three floors of flexible workspace, including 200 desks in a variety of serviced office suites, communal kitchens and lounge areas, with tech-enhanced meeting rooms to suit every need on the ground floor.
New additions to Bloc also include a coworking studio with 20 desks, which are available to customers on a flexible Pay As You Go basis, with day passes bookable online and monthly coworking memberships available.
Serviced offices and traditional leased spaces that range from 500 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft are also available on site.
The new ‘mega store’ officially threw open its doors yesterday (30 November) at 10am, and it’s all just in time for Christmas, so shoppers can get stuck in to buying all their festive food and gifts before the big day arrives.
Having opened as part of M&S‘ ongoing plans and wider investment to regenerate vacant sites in major UK shopping centres, the new M&S Trafford Centre store spans across a whopping 98,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Promising shoppers “an even bigger and better store”, there’s huge new “spacious and stylish” Clothing, Home, and Beauty departments, as well as a brand-new M&S Cafe, and the star of the show being the all-new “market style” Food Hall – which stocks the full M&S Food range, and has “wider and brighter aisles”, with free designated car parking to make shopping “more convenient”.
Percy Pig was on-hand to welcome shoppers to the new store, with the first 200 customers through the door handed ‘golden tickets’.
Every golden ticket holder was guaranteed a win. whether that be a free bag of Percy Pigs, freshly-baked cookies from the new M&S Bakery, or something even bigger – with one lucky customer even bagging a £200 M&S voucher to take home.
180 new jobs have been created by the opening of the new store, and staff at M&S’ former Trafford Centre store have also transferred over to the new location.
The store is led by Store Manager, Laura Smith, along with a team of 420 M&S colleagues.
Soaking up the opening day celebrations, Laura said: “We are thrilled to officially open our brand-new store in the Trafford Centre. The last few weeks have been so exciting for us all as we’ve seen the store take shape, and I’d like to thank everyone in the team for all their hard work to make sure everything is ready for our customers today.
“The store is an exciting investment in the future of M&S in Trafford, and I can’t wait for our customers to explore all the new features that the store has to offer.”
The new M&S Trafford Centre store is now open from 8am-10pm Monday to Friday, 8am-9pm on Saturday, and 12-6pm on Sunday.
Featured Image – Supplied
How to get 55 days off work in 2024 using only 25 days of annual leave
Whether you can believe it or not, we’ll be getting ready to say welcome in December by this time next week.
And that also means in won’t be long before 2024 arrives either.
2023 has been quite the year, and with the working world getting ready to wind down for the festive season, many are no doubt already looking ahead to the new year, and planning all the holidays and time off work they want to book.
Fancy making the most of it though? For those looking to play their cards right and hack the system a little bit, travel insurance price comparison platform PayingTooMuch has worked out a way to secure yourself a whopping 55 days off work using just 25 days of your annual leave allowance – and it’s pretty impressive.
With most full-time employees who work a five-day week having a minimum of 28 days (5.6 weeks) of paid annual leave each year, travel experts at the company have figured out how these people can effectively double their time off in 2024.
Here’s how it works.
Saturday 30 December 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024 – To extend your new year celebrations, you’ll want to book four days off at the start of the year for a total of nine days off.
Saturday 23 March to Sunday 7 April – With Good Friday falling on 29 March next year, you can enjoy a long Easter break of 16 days by only booking eight days off.
Saturday 4 May to Monday 12 May or Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June – Thanks to the two bank holidays in May, there’s two ways for you to enjoy nine days off in a row by only using four days of annual leave.
Saturday 24 August to Sunday 1 September – Here you can book just four days off in August to gain nine days off for a summer holiday.
Saturday 21 December 2024 to Tuesday 1 January 2025 – To end the year on a high and give yourself the chance to properly enjoy the festive period with family and friends, you can book five days of annual leave to gain 12 days off in total.
PayingTooMuch also spoke to Wellbeing Coach Lorna Wilkins to explore the health-boosting benefits of going on holiday and taking time off from work.
“One of the key health benefits of going on holiday is that it reduces stress,” Lorna explains.
“Having a break from your daily routine can make you feel more relaxed and therefore improve your mental wellbeing.
“A change of environment and getting away from the pressures of day-to-day life not only helps you to clear your mind but can also help to improve your sleep quality as you’ll be feeling more relaxed.”